BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)–The Blair County Commissioners accepted bids to help with the security upgrades that could come way for the prison.

This is the second time in six months that the commissioners have accepted the bids for this project. These upgrades a long overdue because the county has been looking into this for a while.

The upgrade is meant to install security cameras and upgrade doors around the facility. Chairman of the County’s Prison Board, A.C. Stickel, said that these are needed to keep the prison within state and federal government protocols.

“A lot of security issues that need upgrading at the prison, camera projects, doors, Sallyport door,” Stickel said. “A lot of things that just can’t be put off anymore.”

The county received three bids for the project that exceeded over one million dollars. The lowest bid came to around $1.18 million, and the highest bidder came at $2.19 million. Those numbers are less than the bids they received in December.

The companies will have their bids submitted through PennBid’s portal, where they go under legal and engineering review to see if they meet specifications for the project.

“They’ll look at the lower bidder or the apparent low bidder and review that process,” Stickel said. “The solicitor and engineer will review it to make sure it’s in order. If it is, the commissioners will award that bid.”

The county is also still having talks about building a new prison. According to Stickel, they formed a committee that focuses on the expansion; however, they have not met in a while.

Blair County District Attorney Pete Weeks is not on the committee but involved in the prison board. He said that it’s always discussed how the prison is nearing max capacity. Currently, inmates cannot spread out and do other programs that other prisons in the Commonwealth can.

“One of the repeated topics that we have is that we have a prison population that is near max capacity of what our prison can handle,” Week said. “Our prison doesn’t have the flexibility that other prisons in the Commonwealth have to allow for traditional work release programs and things. That’s why things are being explored.”

As a start, the county applied for a grant that allows them to go into a feasibility study. From there, hired consultants would come along and provide the best options that the county should pursue for building.

“If that grant is awarded, I would say $185,000 would be available that we would use to hire some consultants,” Stickel said. “To see what we could build? Where could we build it? Or expand, or best options might be.”

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The county has not received any notification on if they received the grant